When your Golden Retriever is enjoying those hot summer days or long walks in the sun, it’s natural to wonder, will they overheat?
Golden Retrievers are sensitive to the heat, and can potentially experience dehydration or heat strokes in extremely hot weather. It’s best to keep your pup between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that they stay healthy and comfortable.
Let’s dive into some more details about this heat-sensitive breed as well as some tips for avoiding heat-related illnesses in your own Golden Retriever.
Do Golden Retrievers Get Hot Easily?
As a general rule, Golden Retrievers are less tolerant of heat than other breeds. This is due to their thicker coats, which can cause them to overheat more easily.
Golden Retrievers will get hotter more quickly than their human companions. This is partially because of their fur coats, but also because they can’t sweat as effectively as we do. Dogs pant to cool themselves off, and while this is an efficient method of cooling for most dogs, Golden Retrievers panting alone will not be enough to keep them cool in extremely hot weather.
Another consideration regarding heat regulation is your dog’s age. Golden Retrievers under the age of 6 months old haven’t fully developed their regulatory systems. This means that they aren’t as efficient as older dogs when it comes to cooling themselves down.
Dogs of any age can be at risk for heat stroke, but puppies are particularly vulnerable. If you think your Golden Retriever is overheating, it’s important to take action immediately.
Signs That Your Dog Is Overheating
Panting is the most common sign that your dog is too hot, but it’s not the only one. You’ll notice your pup taking short rapid breaths, and its tongue and gums will be bright red.
An increased heartbeat is another sign of your dog’s temperature is rising. Naturally, their cardiovascular systems will run harder as a way to cool them down, but this can also lead to exhaustion and even heat stroke.
You can also check your dog’s temperature with a rectal thermometer. A normal dog’s temperature should be between 101 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit. If their temperature is above 103, they’re at risk for heat stroke and you should take immediate action.
What to Do If Your Dog Is Overheating
If you think your dog is overheating, the first step is to get it out of the heat and into a cool environment. If possible, put them in a shady spot or indoors with air conditioning.
You can also wet their fur with cool (not cold) water. It’s important not to use ice water, as this can cause shock. Once their fur is wet, use a fan to help them cool down.
If your dog is panting excessively, give it small sips of water. It’s important not to let them drink too much at once, as this can cause vomiting.
If your dog’s temperature is above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, call your veterinarian immediately. Heat stroke can be fatal if it’s not treated quickly.
How to Prevent Overheating For Golden Retrievers
The best way to prevent heat issues is to avoid situations that will put your dog at risk. Here are some great ways you can keep your Golden Retriever cool in the summer heat:
Take Walks At the Right Time
Avoid walking during the hottest hours of the day, typically between 11 am and 3 pm. If you must walk during these times, make sure to bring water for both you and your pup, and take frequent breaks in shady areas.
Don’t Leave Your Golden Retriever in the Car
This one should be obvious, but never leave your dog in the car, even for a short period of time. Cars heat up quickly and can become deadly ovens in no time. This is especially true if you haven’t left a window partially open for ventilation.
Give Your Pup a Cooling Collar or Bandana
These are specially designed to help dogs regulate their body temperature. They work by absorbing heat and then slowly releasing it back into the body.
Give Them Plenty of Water
Make sure your Golden Retriever always has access to fresh, cool water. If you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time, bring a portable water bowl and water with you.
Invest in a Cooling Mat
These mats are filled with gel or water and can help lower your dog’s body temperature. They’re great for use indoors on hot days, or for putting in your dog’s crate or kennel.
Regularly Groom Your Golden Retriever
Regular grooming can help your pup stay cool. That’s because it removes excess fur, which can insulate their bodies and trap heat. You can brush your pup for a few minutes each day and consult with a groomer for the best haircut possible for summertime.
Make sure not to shave your dog’s coat! While this may seem like it would help, their fur actually provides protection from the sun’s harmful rays.
Watch Out for Hot Pavement
Since we walk around in shoes all day, it’s easy to forget how hot the pavement can be. The pavement can get incredibly hot during the summer, and it can burn your pup’s paws.
To test the pavement, place your hand on it for a few seconds. If it’s too hot to keep your hand on, it’s too hot for your pup to walk on. Put their booties on, walk them on the grass, or wait until a cooler time of the day.
Turn On a Fan
Especially if you’re leaving your Golden Retriever at home for extended periods of time during the day, make sure that there is a breeze direct to the area your pup spends the most time in.
It’s also important to check the air conditioning. Many people set their thermostats too high for their dogs during the midday to save electricity. However, it’s important to keep the home cool all day long if your dog spends most of his time indoors.